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Camel biography
The roots of CAMEL go as far as 1964, when the Latimer brothers Andrew and Bryan form part of a band called THE PHANTOM FOUR, after gaining some fame, the band changes their name to STRANGE BREW, a when the bass player Graham Cooper reaches the band. But things were about to change, Ian Latimer and Cooper leave the band and Doug Ferguson joins.

At this point drummer Andrew Ward joins the crew and the seeds were growing in this new Blues oriented band called simply THE BREW, and at last in 1971 with the arrival of keyboardist Peter Bardens CAMEL is officially born.

In their first period CAMEL releases four albums, the self titled debut, which was received with limited enthusiasm by the public, which lead to the change of label from MCA (Who didn't wanted to take risks) to Decca, with whom they stayed for 10 years.

Followed by "Mirage", Snow Goose" and "Moonmadness" (for many their essential trilogy), during the latest album tour, the saxophonist and flute player Mel Collins joins and leads CAMEL to a first radical change in the sound, as well as in the formation because Doug Ferguson is replaced by the Ex CARAVAN bass player Richard Sinclair.

With this formation CAMEL releases two albums, "Rain Dances and "Breathless", which marks for many the end of CAMEL'S golden era mainly because Pete Bardens leaves the band and the next release "I Can See Your House From Here" is considered inferior to the previous releases by the critic.

From this point the lineups constantly changes but the band still releases seven more albums received with different degrees of acceptance, until the last studio album "A Nod And a Wink" sees the light in 2002 (the same year Pete Bardens passes away) completing a large discography of 14 studio releases, 9 live albums, 7 DVD's and several box sets .

Maybe because their style is softer than most of the pioneer bands with atmospheric and light Space Rock overtones their fanbase is not as huge as the ones of the coetaneous and more aggressive bands such as GENESIS (Who in my opinion influenced CAMEL), YES or KING CRIMSON, but CAMEL is without doubt among the most respected groups, and the Latimer - Bardens duo is considered one of the most creative compositional teams.

If I had to choose one album from their prolific discography, my choice would be "Moonmadness" but others such as "Snow Goose" or "Mirage" are beloved by those who love good music.

An excellent band for people who l...
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Buy CAMEL Music

Camel- MirageCamel- Mirage
Import · Remastered
Universal I.S. 2002
Audio CD$4.93
$2.87 (used)
Import · Remastered
Audio CD$2.42
$5.98 (used)
The Snow GooseThe Snow Goose
Import · Remastered
Polygram UK 2002
Audio CD$3.90
$2.71 (used)
Import · Remastered
Polygram UK 2002
Audio CD$4.86
$3.14 (used)
Rainbow's End - A Camel Anthology 1973-1985 [4 CD Box Set]Rainbow's End - A Camel Anthology 1973-1985 [4 CD Box Set]
Box set · Import · Remastered
INgrooves Fontana/UMe Imports 2010
Audio CD$25.09
$70.38 (used)
A Live RecordA Live Record
Import · Remastered
Universal 2002
Audio CD$6.16
$9.55 (used)
The Snow Goose [2 CD Deluxe Edition]The Snow Goose [2 CD Deluxe Edition]
INgrooves Fontana/UMe Imports 2009
Audio CD$9.13
$9.07 (used)
Paris CollectionParis Collection
Camel Productions 2001
Audio CD$17.59
$9.99 (used)
The CollectionThe Collection
Audio CD$19.95
$19.86 (used)
Never Let GoNever Let Go
Camel Productions 1993
Audio CD$24.85
$13.10 (used)
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CAMEL discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

CAMEL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.95 | 1083 ratings
4.39 | 2195 ratings
4.28 | 1914 ratings
The Snow Goose
4.38 | 1885 ratings
3.58 | 788 ratings
Rain Dances
3.13 | 646 ratings
2.84 | 559 ratings
I Can See Your House From Here
3.60 | 625 ratings
2.58 | 410 ratings
The Single Factor
3.38 | 582 ratings
Stationary Traveller
3.66 | 430 ratings
Dust And Dreams
3.73 | 507 ratings
Harbour Of Tears
4.04 | 719 ratings
3.95 | 590 ratings
A Nod And A Wink
4.21 | 451 ratings
The Snow Goose (Re-recording)

CAMEL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.31 | 348 ratings
A Live Record
3.30 | 142 ratings
Pressure Points
3.65 | 102 ratings
Camel On The Road 1972
4.45 | 141 ratings
Never Let Go
2.39 | 60 ratings
Camel On The Road 1982
3.30 | 55 ratings
Camel On The Road 1981
4.27 | 119 ratings
Coming Of Age
3.83 | 57 ratings
Camel 73 - 75 Gods of Light
3.57 | 66 ratings
The Paris Collection

CAMEL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

2.49 | 37 ratings
Pressure Points - Live in Concert
4.52 | 100 ratings
Coming Of Age (DVD)
2.92 | 25 ratings
Curriculum Vitae
3.92 | 39 ratings
3.82 | 29 ratings
Footage II
4.03 | 38 ratings
Total Pressure (DVD)
4.00 | 49 ratings
4.37 | 70 ratings
The Opening Farewell - Live At The Catalyst (DVD)
4.12 | 26 ratings
In From The Cold

CAMEL Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

1.56 | 10 ratings
Chameleon (Best Of Camel)
3.28 | 16 ratings
The Collection
3.74 | 28 ratings
A Compact Compilation
2.40 | 7 ratings
3.45 | 50 ratings
2.09 | 8 ratings
Camel (25th Anniversary Compilation)
4.09 | 31 ratings
Lunar Sea - An Anthology 1973-1985
4.13 | 32 ratings
Rainbow's End - A Camel Anthology 1973 - 1985

CAMEL Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.63 | 24 ratings
Never Let Go
4.50 | 6 ratings
The Snow Goose
4.00 | 4 ratings
Flight Of The Snow Goose
4.59 | 22 ratings
Another Night
3.44 | 13 ratings
Highways of the Sun
3.33 | 3 ratings
3.00 | 2 ratings
Your Love Is Stranger Than Mine
0.00 | 0 ratings
Some Exerpts From The New Camel Album
2.00 | 1 ratings
Remote Romance
2.00 | 1 ratings
Remote Romance (German Version)
0.00 | 0 ratings
Camel In Concert No.250
3.50 | 2 ratings
3.00 | 2 ratings
No Easy Answer
3.00 | 2 ratings
2.00 | 1 ratings
Cloak And Dagger Man
2.95 | 3 ratings
Long Goodbyes
2.00 | 1 ratings
Berlin Occidental (West Berlin)
2.00 | 1 ratings
Lies (Promo Single)
4.00 | 3 ratings
4.84 | 18 ratings
Never Let Go

CAMEL Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 A Live Record by CAMEL album cover Live, 1978
4.31 | 348 ratings

A Live Record
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by AlanB

4 stars I bought this on vinyl soon after it was released. The track listing was as listed above for the first CD version. More recently I purchased the album on CD, but it was the expanded edition with extra tracks.

First of all, this album shows the classic line up of Camel at its best, and the sound is enhanced by the addition of Mel Collins on saxophone. Collins makes a difference in particular to the songs Never let Go and Song Within A Song. The tracks are chosen from the albums Camel, Mirage, Moonmadness and Rain Dances, plus there is a full recording of The Snow Goose complete with orchestra. There is also a track Ligging At Louis, which did not appear on any studio album. I have never really appreciated post Peter Bardens Camel, so the selection of songs here is perfect for me.

My one qualm about the CD version that I have is that I would have preferred the tracks on CD1 to have followed the same order as on the original vinyl, with the unreleased songs at the end. I was so used to hearing the album open with Never Let Go that having four tracks from Rain Dances at the start sounds wrong. This wouldn't be a problem for anyone who hadn't owned the original album on vinyl, so maybe I'm being picky, but it doesn't sound right to me.

Top tracks for me: Never Let Go, Lady Fantasy, Song Within A Song, Lunar Sea, and the complete Snow Goose.

 Breathless by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.13 | 646 ratings

Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead

3 stars Review Nş 78

Camel is, in my humble opinion and unfortunately, an underrated band in the progressive rock world, probably due to the simplicity of their music. For Camel, create music is a very simple thing. A bunch of guys, with guitar, keyboards, bass and drums, are capable to create clear and simple melodies with changes of rhythm and variations, all over the songs, with great creativity and improvisation. This is all very simple, nothing hidden, everything is visible and with no tricks. The result is music with very high quality, simplicity and beauty. However, that never changed the fact that Camel always was regarded as one of the most creative and respected bands in the progressive rock music.

So, no wonder that Camel's music continues influencing many other musicians, even in our days. The Opeth's front man Mikael Akerfeldt, has stated many times that Camel is one of the major influences in his music. For instance, the song "Benighted" from Opeth's fourth studio album "Still Life" released in 1999, has some resemblance to Camel's song "Never Let Go" and the song "Ending Credits" from Opeth's seventh studio album "Damnation" released in 2003, has also extraordinary similarities with the usual sound of Camel. "Endings Credits" represents his homage to Camel.

"Breathless" is the sixth studio album of Camel and was released in 1978. It's the last album from the group that features the band's original keyboardist Peter Bardens, who unfortunately left the band before the tour of the album. It ended with one of the best duos of progressive rock composers ever. It seems that Andrew Latimer and Bardens conflicted frequently during the recording of their previous fifth studio album "Rain Dances" released in 1977. Those tensions would come to an end during the making of "Breathless". Once it was completed, Bardens quit the group.

"Breathless" has nine tracks. The first track is the title track "Breathless". It was written by Latimer, Bardens and Andy Ward and represents one of the most beautiful and melodic songs, with a touch of pop, that I've ever listen to from a progressive band. This is an excellent example how a progressive group can make a really good pop song. The second track "Echoes" also written by Latimer, Bardens and Ward is a typical Camel's song and represents one of the most progressive songs on the album. It's a song with great Latimer's guitar working. It's certainly the best track on the album. This is Camel at their best. The third track "Wing And A Prayer" written by Latimer and Bardens is another song with a touch of pop and it has some similarities with the opener track "Breathless". However, for me, it's a less good song despite have a very good and interesting Mel Collins' saxophone working. The fourth track "Down On The Farm" written by Richard Sinclair is a humorous song, but it doesn't sounds as a Camel's song. Sincerely, it sounds more like a Caravan's song, which is very natural given his previous connection with that group. Bardens didn't like the song and he doesn't play it. It seems that he was right, because despite being not a bad song, it has nothing to do with Camel's sound. It should never be recorded by Camel. The fifth track "Starlight Ride" written by Latimer and Bardens is a song that sounds very different and it has a sort of a melancholic style. It's a pretty short track, but sincerely, the final result is a forgettable song. The sixth track "Summer Lightning" written by Latimer and Sinclair is another track with a touch of pop music with a repetitive dancing rhythm. It has some good Latimer's guitar solos which make of it an interesting track. The seventh track "You Make Me Smile" written by Latimer and Bardens is one of the more popish songs of the album and it has also a repetitive dancing rhythm. This is probably the weakest and the most disappointing song on the album. It doesn't make me smile at all. The eighth track "The Sleeper" written by Latimer, Bardens, Ward and Collins is an instrumental song and is the other progressive track of the album. Despite it sounds to a Camel's song with a slightly jazzy touch, it isn't as good as "Echoes" is. The ninth track "Rainbow's End" written by Latimer and Bardens ends the album nicely. It's a short song very calm and melancholic with beautiful chorus and good musical arrangements. In the end, "Rainbow's End", closes the album with a certain beautiful musical style.

Conclusion: "Breathless" is, without any kind of doubt, the weakest Camel's album released by this magnificent duo of musicians and composers Latimer and Bardens unfortunately. However, in my humble opinion, "Breathless" is far way from being a bad album. It has some good songs and it has also some others, which are interesting. I recommend strongly "Echoes" and "The Sleeper", which are definitely the two best and most progressive tracks on the album. But unfortunately, it has also "You Make Me Smile" with its dreadful disco sound, which is definitely the lower point of the album. So, the highlights are so few that can't make of it a great album. But unfortunately, "Breathless" represents also the Bardens' farewell to the band, the band that he left, but where he will be connected forever. And as a consequence of his departure, Camel could never be the same again, despite the excellence of their sound of the 90's.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Rain Dances by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.58 | 788 ratings

Rain Dances
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead

4 stars Review Nş 77

In my humble opinion, after Genesis, Yes and Pink Floyd the three best progressive groups of the 70's, Camel, Jethro Tull, Gentle Giant, King Crimson, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Van Der Graaf Generator and Rush are in the next position as some of the best and most influential bands of the 70's, and undoubtedly, all of them also belong to the very strictly group of the some of the greatest progressive bands ever.

Camel is a band who always took a very own path and they never were inferior to the most of the other greatest bands. They are respected and appreciated and they also continue influencing many other bands with different styles of music, even today. For instance, Mikael Akerfeldt from Opeth often mentions that he has suffered many influences from bands like Camel. Camel is a band that needs to be discovered, especially the albums of their classic period.

"Rain Dances" is the fifth studio album of Camel and was released in 1977. This is the album that marks the first changes into the line up of the band, ending with their classic line up and also with their classic musical era. After the stability of their first four studio albums, their bassist and founder member Doug Fergusson, quit the band soon after the release of their previous fourth studio album "Moonmadness" released in 1976. His replacement was made by Richard Sinclair an ex-Caravan's member. To complete the transformation of the usual line up, the group had the addition of other musician, the saxophonist Mel Collins an ex-King Crimson's member. This transformation in the line up of the band brought a certain change on Camel's sound, making it more experimental, relaxing and much closer to the jazz style. The album has also some participation of Brian Eno, the ex-Roxy Music's member, on the keyboards.

"Rain Dances" has nine tracks. The first track "First Light" written by Peter Bardens and Andrew Latimer is an inspired and fantastic instrumental piece of music that represents a great opening to the album. It's also the first time that we can listen to a sax on a Camel's album, and I would say, what a great job was made by Collins all over the album. The second track "Metrognome" written by Bardens and Latimer is another fantastic song with a very calm and beautiful beginning and which becomes progressively more complex and experimental, with some jazz influences. The third track "Tell Me" written by Bardens and Latimer is a very calm, delicate and beautiful ballad with a fine Latimer's flute working. This is a song that makes us dreaming. The fourth track "Highways Of The Sun" written by Bardens and Latimer was the song chosen to be released as a single. It's a song with a more commercial mood and with some pop characteristics, but with a final touch of Camel's sound. It's a good example how to make a good pop song by a progressive band. The fifth track "Unevensong" written by Bardens, Latimer and Andy Ward is a song with great musical variations. It's really a pretty good and brilliant song. This is a song with a lot of breaks and tempo changes and has also great Latimer's guitar solos. The sixth track "One Of These Days I'll Get An Early Night" written by Bardens, Latimer, Ward, Sinclair and Collins is the more experimental track on the album, and it has also good individual performances by all musicians. It's clearly a piece of music with great jazz influence. The seventh track "Elke" written by Latimer is practically a Latimer's solo piece of music, featuring the usual excellent electronic experimentation by Eno. It's a very nice, peaceful and atmospheric instrumental song. The eighth track "Skylines" written by Bardens, Latimer and Ward is another instrumental song with great jazz influences. It's also a good musical number very well performed by all members of the group. The ninth track is the title track "Rain Dances". It was written by Bardens and Latimer and is a reprise of the opener track. It's the smallest song on the album and is a very good instrumental track, almost very classic. It represents a natural and a great ending to this excellent musical working.

Conclusion: First of all, in addition to the changes into their line up, "Rain Dances" is an album released in the punk era. A time where to be a progressive group was the same of being an old dinosaur. A time where many record labels and critics had completely turned their backs to the progressive rock. So, it was in that context that was born this Camel's album. Anyway and despite these changes, "Rain Dances" is really a great album. It's very consistent, but unfortunately, isn't a masterpiece. However, I'm not one of those who consider this album as a weak point in Camel's discography. This is a very well balanced piece of music with great moments, and the musical change of their sound is very enjoyable and flows gracefully from the beginning to the end. In my humble opinion, in the progressive rock, the groups can change and evolve their music. I also think that the presence of some new band's members in a group is also a very good thing, especially if they are great musicians and experienced artists. They can bring something new.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Camel by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.95 | 1083 ratings

Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A little jazzy and proggy hard rock animal

Not often cited by fans, CAMEL's self-titled debut album offers an energetic jazzy rock, supported by Peter Bardens' colorful keyboards and Andy Latimer's inspired guitar play. As always, the sung parts remain rather discrete and the musician already focus on their strong points: the instrumental passages. Not as progressive as their next albums, the music is nonetheless quite lively and promising. As many other bands in the 70's, the compositions were tested and refined at concerts before being released in studio version.

The opener "Slow Yourself Down" is a catchy punchy jazz-rock in the style of SANTANA, including various cool soli. In contrast, "Mystic Queen" is my least favorite track of the record. It has pretty and melancholic moments I find it overall a bit boring and lengthy. Back to jazz-rock with the instrumental "Six Ate". Driven by keyboards, it features a few cool rhythm changes. Surprising, the galloping heroic "Separation" is hard rock oriented, sometimes even sounding like early 70's metal! Great!

More melodic, "Never Let Go" announces the style that CAMEL will develop in their next album, "Mirage". A melancholic tune, with jazzy and enchanting variations, supported by Peter Bardens' mellotron. "Curiosity" is an evolving but a little uneven song, enjoyable though. The closer "Arubaluba" is the other instrumental track of the disc. Dynamic and powerful, it simply rocks!

CAMEL's self-titled debut album has lots to offer and already unveils the band's potential, especially for composition and instrumental parts. Unfortunately, the musicians won't earn the success they deserve with this release, maybe due the lack of originality of their music at the time and of a charismatic frontman. Nonetheless, it still remains a lively and inspired opus, as well as a good entry point to the band for hard rockers.

CAMEL's rockiest effort, and one of their best albums. A promising and talented animal, recommended to jazzy rock and SANTANA fans!

 The Snow Goose by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.28 | 1914 ratings

The Snow Goose
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by ArtuomNechuev

5 stars Though one can't be completely objective and impartial in a review, I can claim that it goes without saying - The Snow Goose IS a masterpiece. As I wasn't prepared enough to listen to fully vocalless album, I preferred to enjoy Camel, Mirage and Moonmadness first. However my apprehensions were disspelled during the first take: all the tracks sounded really great and incited me. The Snow Goose represents a bunch of quite remarkable and pleasant though not very difficult melodies. Each composition slightly go on to another one and doesn't lose the central spirit and idea of the story. Some melodies on latter compositions are deliberately made reminiscent of melodies on the former, namely: Rhayder and Rhayder Alone, Preparation and Epitaph, Fritha and Fritha Alone, The Snow Goose and Princess Perdue. This interesting trick helps to create the feel and spirit of integrity of the whole album which makes it indivisible for the emotional perception. Besides, it helps to develop and understand character and feelings of the characters (Philip Rhayder is so alone, that we even can feel his sadness). Some passages are so emotional and emphatic, that I even can't help but shed a couple of tears. The very plot and idea of this touching and very sad story, written by Paul Gallico and being tightly tied with the music, direct it in listener's heart flawlessly and draws colourful images in his mind. Also, the use of some orchestra pieces creates a nice and atmospheric interlacing. Moreover, it's obvious, that technical skills of each member increased significantly on this release. Andy Ward delivers creative and energetic drumming inserting some syncopation, double strokes and other nice tricks. Doug Fergusson performs decently and complete the image in a rather sensitive and sensible way. Concerning the main songwriters Peter Bardens (keys) and Andrew Latimer (guitar and flute) there can be made up praising hymns, but won't go beyond a couple of sentences. Bardens' and Latimer's performance as usual is highly creative, sophisticated and emotional without being overtly pompous and showing off. Their compositional skills are beyond discussion. I wonder how Andrew Latimer manages to create and perform such pleasant, catchy, sincere and versatile melodies and constructions without too difficult and tangled. It's all about emotional and dynamical playing of course with the use of slide and vibratto bar . In addition his wizardry with flute creates flying mellow melodies, which fit every place they are. Speaking about Peter Bardens I can say without bias, that this time the arsenal of his instruments is broadened, which allows to make compositions more diverse and intricate. His playing is also able to break the most thick ice of anyone's soul or incite a hardened melancholic. In the end I will say, that The Snow Goose is on of the greatest and moving concept albums of all time filled with the music of high quality. And it's the best instrumental piece in my opinion.
 The Snow Goose by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.28 | 1914 ratings

The Snow Goose
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Camel goes classical and instrumental

3.5 stars

After their second (majestic) studio opus, CAMEL understood that the sung parts and lyrics weren't their strongest points, existing only sporadically to make songs. The musicians were more at ease during the instrumental parts. Furthermore, the band was lacking a genuine charismatic frontman. For these reasons, they decided to compose a fully instrumental record, based on Paul Gallico's story "The Snow Goose". However, the author brought a lawsuit against them, due to copyright infringement, and CAMEL therefore renamed their new album "Music inspired by The Snow Goose".

Thought as a single 43 minutes piece, this third opus was recorded with The London Symphony Orchestra. The instrumentation and orchestration are much more ambitious than before: guitars, keyboards, percussions, wind instruments, violin... Peter Bardens' synthesizers become more and more present, although they sometimes quite strange. It also incorporates a few female vocalizations. Musically speaking, the disc is more melodic than the band's previous efforts, but, in return, offers less room to develop long guitar or keyboard soli, as the tracks have a short or normal duration. Less jazz / rock than before, "Music inspired by The Snow Goose" is more about merging symphonic rock with classical music.

The first half of the album is charming. After the mysterious and calm introduction "The Great Marsh", begins "Rhayader". Dominated by the flute, this tune is lively, catchy, and even a little jazzy. The best passage of the record is nonetheless the enchanting "Rhayader Goes To Town". Alternating soft and heroic moments with floydian guitar interventions, this track rocks! Then come the sweet and melancholic "Sanctuary", the delicate and pretty "Fritha", whereas the title track is simply beautiful and touching. Driven by wind instruments such as clarinet, oboe, bassoon and flute, "Friendship" is pretty much is in the style of SERGEI PROKOFIEV's "Peter and the Wolf". The dynamic "Migration" includes wordless vocals.

The second half is unfortunately a bit more uneven. Although "Rhayader Alone" is quite convincing with its guitar and Fender Rhodes piano, "Flight Of The Snow Goose" contrasts by incorporating an electronic sequence. Average, and a little out of place. The threatening "Preparation" sounds futuristic but also bizarre, I think it could should have been shortened. The first part "Dunkirk" is too repetitive and lengthy. Thankfully, the second part is more epic and nervous. "Epitaph" reuses the theme from "Preparation", whereas the piano dominated "Fritha Alone" is more interesting, displaying a slight ethereal atmosphere. "La Princesse Perdue" uses a few cheesy synthesizers but however some nice moments too. Curiously, the short closer "The Great Marsh" concludes the disc on an haunting note.

"Music inspired by The Snow Goose" is the release CAMEL is the best known for, due to its instrumental approach and the successful concert at the Royal Albert Hall with the London Symphony Orchestra in 1975. It contains some flaws and weaker passages though, such as the dated keyboards sounds, but remains one of the few fully instrumental good studio albums of the 70's - except the electronic ones. More electronic and less jazzy, the desert animal is still inspired, his music is enchanting and will transport you to a land of fantasy.

Unique in the band's career, the musicians won't renew this stylistic exercise in the future. The first half of the seventies was maybe the only time period such a lyric-less record could earn success in the rock sphere. Anyway, one of CAMEL's best albums, recommended to symphonic prog fans!

 Mirage by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.39 | 2195 ratings

Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

4 stars An hallucination? No, a real symphonic prog oasis!

4.5 stars

Second studio album by CAMEL, "Mirage" truly marks the band's entrance into the progressive sphere. Compared to their debut, the compositions are a bit longer and more complex. If the musical style - mainly instrumental symphonic SANTANA-esque hard rock - hasn't changed much, the music is now more melodic and sometimes slow down to offer softer and breathtaking moments. Furthermore, the Minimoog made its first appearance and will become more and more present in the next records. Finally, the sound quality has also improved.

One word on the cover art: as you probably see, it parodies the Camel cigarettes pack, which initially helped the band to become famous. However, it also made then bad publicity, as people thought the musicians were advertising for the well-known smoking brand. Let's now begin our journey.

"Freefall" is a punchy and catchy opener, in the slight jazzy hard rock style of the first opus. In contrast, despite to what its title may suggest, "Supertwister" is delicate and enchanting. A nice invitation to travel to a mysterious land. In addition, Andrew Latimer's flute playing is pretty good. Then comes the best track of the disc, the Lords of the Ring-inspired "Nimrodel / The Procession / White Rider" suite. After a short aquatic overture, you know with the fanfare horns you're in for something special. The next part opens with an aerial majestic music, a genuine little melodic gem! Then, the song alternates alternates violent, calm and even spacey passages with numerous pace changes and various instruments. The haunting ending is also beautiful. Magic!

I do not really enjoy the beginning of the instrumental "Earthrise", but the rest is overall quite good. Despite dated synthesizer sonorities, it contains great soft and fast epic rock moments. The closer "Lady Fantasy" may well be CAMEL's longest composition to date. The track can remind THE DOORS at times, mainly due to the organ interventions. Both gentle and rageous, rock and jazzy, calm and touching, it displays the band's talent and is one of their best mini-epic. The dark ending simply rocks!

Although this album is classified under the "symphonic progressive" genre, The music here isn't at all like YES or GENESIS. Nonetheless, it still transports you to an imaginary world of fantasy, and that's the most important. The record has an overall constant quality, even if there are a few short passages I enjoy less.

With a better unity and musicianship than their self-titled debut, "Mirage" possesses its own identity and magic. Top-notch and accessible jazzy symphonic rock, and undoubtedly CAMEL's summit! A treasure in the desert...

 Camel On The Road 1972 by CAMEL album cover Live, 1992
3.65 | 102 ratings

Camel On The Road 1972
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead

4 stars Review Nş 67

Camel was formed in 1971 when the former band members of a band called The Brew, Andrew Latimer, Andy Ward and Doug Ferguson recruited another member Peter Bardens. After an initial presentation to a meeting under the name On, they changed their name to Camel and performed in the 4th of December, of the same year, their first live presentation at Waltham Forest Technical College, in London. And so, it was born and emerged a band that would become as one of the best and most influential progressive rock bands in the world, even in our days.

'Camel On The Road 1972' is chronologically the third live album of Camel and despite have been recorded in 1972, it was only released twenty years later in 1992. The most curious and interesting fact with this live album is due to the date of the recordings of the album. In reality, this is truly the debut record of the group. In fact, their debut studio album, their eponymous 'Camel', was recorded only one year later of the recordings of this one, in 1973.The line up of this live album is Andrew Latimer (vocals and guitar), Peter Bardens (vocals and keyboards), Doug Ferguson (vocals and bass) and Andy Ward (drums). This is the original and classic line up of the band who performed in their four first studio albums, which are in general considered their best studio albums, and which is also considered the best line up of the group, ever.

'Camel On The Road 1972' contains only four songs and we can say that it's a kind of a live mini EP. As Camel mentioned on the sleeve notes of the album, this live album is an official bootleg. The first track 'Lady Fantasy' was written by Camel and is a live version of the song originally released on their second studio album 'Mirage'. The second track 'Six Ate' was written by Latimer and is a live version of the song originally released on their eponymous debut studio album 'Camel'. The third track 'White Rider' was also written by Latimer and is a live version of the song originally released also on their second studio album 'Mirage'. The fourth and last track 'God Of Light Revisited' was written by Bardens and was never released on any studio album of the band, despite being regularly incorporated into many of their live shows, mainly during this first musical period of Camel. This song was originally released on the debut solo studio album of Bardens, 'The Answer', released in 1970, with the name of "Homage To The God Of Light'.

It's interesting to note and it's also very curious that 'Lady Fantasy' and 'White Rider' weren't released on their debut studio album, 'Camel', like 'Six Ate' was, but only on their second studio album 'Mirage' released only two years later, in 1974. Once more we can also see the careful and perfect balance between the two main writers of the songs on Camel, at the time. There is a song of the band, a song of Bardens and despite that there are two songs of Latimer, the duration of them are approximately equal to those of Bardens.

About the live performance of the songs, what I can say is that 'Lady Fantasy' and 'White Rider', are two fantastic songs which have contributed to 'Mirage' be one of the best studio albums of the band. They're two of my favourite songs of Camel, too. Both songs are excellently performed live. The sound isn't perfect of course, but it's really great, for a bootleg album. 'Six Ate' is also a good song but is inferior to the other two songs, to my taste. However, the live performance is a typical live track of Camel and is also excellent. 'God Of Light Revisited' is an instrumental song more psychedelic and experimental that goes very well when performed live. This is a great piece of music performed live, superiorly. It's a pure psychedelic and experimental improvised version that sounds really great. My first contact with this song was in my version of their debut album 'Camel', as a bonus track. The live version, on that album, was recorded live at the famous and mythical Marquee Club at 29th October 1974 and was previously unreleased.

Conclusion: As I said before, 'Camel On The Road 1972' is a short live album with only four songs. Anyway, 'Camel On The Road 1972' is a very good live album, with very inspired live performances of the original studio songs. However, don't be fooled by the minimalistic cover and date of the show. This is really a quality recording of the band on their very first tour together. I like very much the energy and vibe all over the album. It's true that the sound quality of the album isn't perfect, but after the digital treatment made on it, it's quite acceptable. And we can't also forget that this is a bootleg album recorded in 1972. Of course we can't say that it's an essential release, but you will not regret if you buy it. Again, the fidelity and the overall quality are quite good. So, I've no hesitation in saying that this is an excellent addition to any progressive collection, especially if you are a hard fan of the band, as I am. This is a very special live album of Camel and is a real live testimony that shows how great this band was when they performed live.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Camel by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.95 | 1083 ratings

Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead

4 stars Review Nş 63

This is my fifth review of a Camel's album. The others are their second, third and fourth studio albums 'Mirage', 'The Snow Goose' and 'Moonmadness' which were released in 1974, 1975 and 1976 respectively, and their debut live album 'A Live Record' released in 1978. In 1972 the band signed with MCA Records and the result of it was this musical work 'Camel', their eponymous debut studio album which was released in 1973.

'Camel' has seven tracks. The first track 'Slow Yourself Down' written by Andrew Latimer and Andy Ward is a great song to open the album and represents, to my taste, the third best song on the album. This song features great organ work by Peter Bardens and is very well accompanied with a relaxed vocal work. A great rhythm section was also created by Doug Fergusson and Ward. The second track 'Mystic Queen' written by Bardens represents, for me, the second best track on the album. The song is absolutely sublime and is one of the two highest points of the album. It represents another great song with a good organ work by Bardens, perfectly accompanied with a tasteful Latimer's guitar solo. It has also a great performance on the drums by Ward. The third track 'Six Ate' written by Latimer is, in my humble opinion, the weakest point of the album. But, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that it's a bad song. What I'm saying is that the song can be, sometimes, a little bit repetitive and represents the lower point on the album. The fourth track 'Separation' written also by Latimer is the shortest song on the album. It's a very good song with some slow parts and with a very powerful and superb ending. This is another great song. The fifth track 'Never Let Go' is another Latimer's song and that eventually gave its name to a live album of the band. It's also one of the lengthiest tracks on the album. It's my favourite song on the album and one of my favourite songs from the group. It's a wonderful piece of music with the only appearance of Bardens on vocals. He gave an amazing keyboard solo very well accompanied by a marvellous Latimer's flute work, too. The sixth track 'Curiosity' written by Bardens is a song with a strong bass line featured by Ferguson. This is a typical Camel's track with a good writing composition. It's also another very good song, in the same line of the rest of the musical material found in here. The seventh track 'Arubaluba' also written by Bardens is the closing song on the album. It's an instrumental track that represents the lengthiest song on the album. This is one of the best songs on the album, and in my point of view, it's in the fourth place. It's a very strong track with great guitar performances, an interesting organ work and a good complementary job made by Fergusson and Ward.

My CD version has also two bonus tracks. As I usually say, I don't review bonus tracks mainly because of two reasons. First, bonus tracks don't make part of the original album and so, they shouldn't influence the album's review. Second, unfortunately in the most of the cases, the bonus tracks don't have good quality and are added without much criterion. Luckily, this isn't the case. Despite the first bonus track 'Never Let Go' not bring anything new to the album, because is simply a shorter single version of the original track, with the second bonus track we can't say the same. 'Homage To The God Of Light' is a 19 minutes live version of an original track written by Bardens, which was originally recorded on his solo studio album 'The Answer' released in 1970. This is really a great piece of music performed live superiorly. The track is full of free musical improvisations by all the band's members with extended psychedelic improvisation sounds and where all the musicians show their musical competence. This track was recorded live at the famous and mythical Marquee Club at 29th October 1974, and was previously unreleased. Unfortunately, it's shocking to think that this live version of 'Homage To The God Of Light' was hidden for so many years. I'm perfectly convinced that if this track has been released on the original album, it might be considered a truly masterpiece.

Conclusion: 'Camel' is a great debut album from the band. In my humble opinion, it has two tracks that deserve to be rated with 5 stars 'Mystic Queen' and 'Never Let Go', four tracks that deserve 4 stars 'Slow Yourself Down', 'Separation', 'Curiosity' and 'Arubaluba' and one track that deserve only 3 stars 'Six Ate'. So, the final average of this album is between 4 and 4,5 stars. So, I decided to rate it with 4 stars. Sincerely, I think that it missed very few to it to can achieve the status of a masterpiece, which fortunately would happen, with their three following studio albums. This is really a great starting point if you want to listen to Camel as a newbie. This is an album very catchy and easy to get into, especially for the beginners. It's an amazing musical work, especially as a first album of any band. Don't get be repelled by the fact that it isn't very known and popular, compared with some of their other studio albums. This is a great album, probably the most simple, pure and naive of all their studio albums. Sincerely, I deeply recommend it.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Mirage by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.39 | 2195 ratings

Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by ALotOfBottle
Prog Reviewer

5 stars This would probably be my 1# progressive rock album! I think no words can describe this masterpiece. "Mirage" is a work of four outstanding instrumentalists. A true piece of art and a classic prog album!

Camel did not achieve a great succes after their self-titled debut. It's hard to say that it influenced their sound because what they created on this album is something that just happens once, something that is not a shift from anything else. I don't know, maybe stars were alined in a particular way and that created some sort of increased creativity for these four young lads, I don't know really. What I know is that "Mirage" is a complete, unrepeatable collection of something more than songs. Epics... if you will! Nobody has ever created such a moody listening expirience!

"Freefall" is a great a album opener, perfectly placed. It features Peter Bardens' beautiful vocal colour. Andy Latimer's guitar playing is out of this world. Keys, guitar and a groovin' rhythm section all pair up, creating a fantastic piece about... Well, a state in life - Freefall! Band shows off their jazz abilities with a swing part with a progression sort of in style of Soft Machine.

"Supertwister" showcases Latimer's flute abilities in an unusual time signature scenario. A really enjoyable tune, placed perfectly after a very mature and intelectual sounding rock-out on "Freefall"

"Nimnrodel/White Rider/Procession" is a three-movemental suite, lyrically based on Tolkien's Lord Of the Rings. This is in my opinion one of the most beautiful tracks in the history of prog rock with Andy Latimer's deep, bassy voice, creamy guitar tone and a wide plethora of Pete Bardens' keyboard sounds. The song ends with a very Floydian jam, with Andy Latimer making use of his slide guitar playing.

"Earthrise" is a pleasant piece with a very catchy theme of a Moog synthesizer paired with Andy Latimer's guitar. Than, we can hear a beautiful, screaming guitar and a springy sounding Moog solo on a very fast jazzy jam. A pleasant, enjoyable tune.

"Lady Fantasy" is what some (including me) consider an ultimate rock suite. It has three movements, all with different flows. A true masterpiece with beautiful, lush and smooth sounding keyboards and breathtaking guitar solos. It is a very relaxing one. The lyrics tell the story of "A lady we all see, but never can hold" - Lady Fantasy. This ends the album, with the listener completely overwhelmed with what he or she has just expirienced.

"Mirage" is a true work of art. One of the best progressive rock albums in the history. "Highly recommended" is a brutal understatement, so I'll just leave you here with your own choice.

Also, if I didn't mention, I quite like this album :)

Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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